Category Archives: Foods that Heal

Healing Foods for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that can cause brain cell death, resulting in dementia which can lead to problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Though Alzheimer’s effects mostly elderly people, it is not a normal part of aging. Up to 5% of people diagnosed with the disease have early onset, which starts when a person is only in their 40’s and 50’s. Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s include bouts of forgetfulness or confusion that usually worsens over time. The rate of which the disease worsens varies from person to person.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still mostly unknown, though through decades of research it has been identified that the buildup of toxic proteins in the brain called beta amyloids and tau can cause brain cell death which leads to Alzheimer’s. How these proteins accumulate is still unclear.

Nutrition and certain types of foods have been studied for a link to Alzheimer’s disease. These studies have identified that just as there are foods that boost memory, there are foods that can destroy it. Foods that have been negatively linked to Alzheimer’s include: mercury-contaminated foods like some fish and seafoods, sugars like high-fructose syrup, corn syrup, white sugar; foods containing saturated and trans fats, fried foods, most vegetable oils, complex carbohydrates like white refined flour, white bread and white pasta products, white refined rice, cakes, pastries, processed cheese, all processed meats, bacon, all highly processed foods (any processed foods with artificial ingredients or ingredients not found in the kitchen at home), preservatives, sulphites, nitrates, beer and microwave popcorn; have all been linked to increasing a person’s risk of developing the disease.

Just as there are many foods that can cause Alzheimer’s, there are also many delicious foods that have been found to boost memory and improve cognitive function. Studies have found that maintaining a well-balanced diet of fresh whole-foods like the Mediterranean Diet can prevent and slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Foods that have been identified as especially beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s and improving memory include foods high in Omega-3, flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B12 and folate.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to increase the levels of the protein LR11 which is known to destroy the beta amyloids which cause brain cell death. Decades of research and several studies have now shown that diets high in omega-3 can reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s and could be used as a preventative method in developing the disease. Foods high in omega-3 include: flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, walnuts, yogurt, eggs and low-mercury fish like wild salmon, rainbow trout, mackerel, sardines, clams and crab.

Diets high in flavonoids have been found to reduce amyloid-beta production in the brain, which in-turn reduces the amyloid plaque that builds up and eventually destroys the brains cells. Foods high in flavonoids include fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables such as: almonds, quinoa, cocoa, parsley, basil, mint, dill, thyme, lettuce, spinach, kale, cranberries, lemon, oranges, grapefruits, apples. blueberries, bananas, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, red grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, oranges, plums, tomatoes, beets, carrots, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, celery, brussels sprouts, asparagus and celery.

Antioxidants help protect cells and DNA against damage caused by oxidants or free radicals. Free radicals can cause serious damage to the body and contribute to aging and the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Foods high in antioxidants include: wild blueberries, gogi berries, cranberries, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, sweet cherry, black plum, red and black grapes, artichokes, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cilantro and dark leafy greens.

In a study published in 2014 through the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was concluded that vitamin E slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since vitamin E supplements can negatively interact with some medications, it is advised vitamin e be consumed through food sources. Food sources rich in vitamin E include: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, wheat germ, spinach, pine nuts, dark leafy greens, eggs, sardines, avocados, broccoli, kale and asparagus.

Magnesium has been reported to lower the risk of cognitive decline in a couple different studies, suggesting that maintaining healthy magnesium levels may lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Foods high in magnesium include: pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, oats, salmon, quinoa, spinach, mackerel, yogurt, black beans, navy beans and all other types of legumes.

Through a study published in Neurology, researchers in Scandinavia analyzed blood samples of a few hundred individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and found that there were consistently low levels of vitamin B12 and folate. It is suggested that maintaining a diet with healthy levels of B12 may prevent the chances of Alzheimer’s developing. Foods high in vitamin B12 include: clams, oysters, mackerel, crab, sardines, trout, salmon, scallops, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt and eggs.

Eating fresh folate-rich foods on a daily basis may lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s according to several studies. Folic acid may help protect the brain by allowing nerve cells to repair DNA damage. Folic acid supplements and folate-fortified foods have not shown the same results though. Fresh folate-rich foods include: leafy greens, vegetables and legumes such as: lentils, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, beets, romaine lettuce, bok choy, cauliflower, parsley, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, green beans, papaya, brussels sprouts, cabbage, green peas, celery, squash, tomatoes and strawberries.

In recent studies, maple syrup was found to protect the brain cells against damage caused by proteins linked to the degenerative disease. At the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, a group of international scientists shared research that showed maple syrup prevented the tangling of beta amyloid proteins and protected brain cells.

Mercury has been found to cause the same brain nerve damage as the beta amyloids proteins. Research conducted by the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine in collaboration with the University of Kentucky found that mercury poisoning caused brain damage resulting in Alzheimer’s. Mercury is most commonly introduced into the body through mercury fillings, but can also be introduced through vaccines, seafood and pollution from coal-burning power plants.

Your best fight against Alzheimers disease is by avoiding industrial pollutants, highly processed foods and artificial ingredients and through maintaining a well-balanced whole food meal plan. Plenty of fresh air and regular mental stimulation are also suggested as all healthy ways to exercise, protect and nurture a healthy brain and a strong mind.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center / Food, Eating and Alzheimer’s: https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-food-eating.asp
•    Alzheimer’s Association / Adopt a Healthy Diet: http://www.alz.org/brain-health/adopt_healthy_diet.asp
•    Alzheimers.net / Nutrition and Dementia: Foods that may induce memory loss & increase Alzheimers: http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-02/foods-that-induce-memory-loss/
•    Alzheimers.net / Alzheimer’s Could be prevented by Maple Syrup Researchers Say: http://www.alzheimers.net/5-02-16-alzheimers-prevented-by-maple-syrup/
•    Alzheimer’s Society / Mediterranean Diet: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20010/risk_factors_and_prevention/149/mediterranean_diet
•    National Institute on Aging / Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center / The search for Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/preventing-alzheimers-disease/search-alzheimers-prevention-strategies
•    Alzheimers.net / Memory Boosting Superfoods That Fight Alzheimers: http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-10-15/superfoods-that-fight-alzheimers/
•    Prevention.com / health / This Diest Change Could Save You From Alzheimers: http://www.prevention.com/health/how-diet-impacts-alzheimers-risk
•    HelpGuid.org / Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia/alzheimers-and-dementia-prevention.htm
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / Dementia & Diet Matter: These Foods Raise Alzheimer’s Risk: https://draxe.com/foods-raise-alzheimers-risk/
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine /  7 Ways To Lower Dementia Risk: https://draxe.com/dementia/
•    Food for the Brain: Championing Optimum Nutrition for the Mind / About Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease: http://www.foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-solutions/dementia-and-alzheimer%E2%80%99s-disease/about-dementiaalzheimer%E2%80%99s-disease.aspx
•    Alzheimers Australia Dementia Research Foundation / The MIND diet: another approach to dementia risk reduction: https://www.dementiaresearchfoundation.org.au/blog/mind-diet-another-approach-dementia-risk-reduction
•    Science-Based Medicine / Vitamin E for Alzheimer’s: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/vitamin-e-for-alzheimers/

Healing Foods for Depression

Depression is a debilitating condition that negatively affects how a person feels, the way they think and how they behave. Depression causes feelings of sadness, disinterest and separation; and can lead to a loss of appetite, insomnia and thoughts of suicide. Serious and chronic depression can even interfere with a person’s ability to work and function at home.

Recent Health at a Glance statistics reported that 9% of Canadians were on some form of antidepressant. Many factors can contribute to the development of depression, but nutritional imbalances is amongst one of them. Eating a well-balanced whole food diet will supply the body with the nutrients it needs, and eliminate any deficiencies. Deficiencies can cause the body to experience a feeling of grief which can be expressed as depression. There are several nutritional imbalances that could make you more susceptible to depression such as: low levels of Omega-3, serotonin, B vitamins and/or vitamin D; or high levels of homocysteine and/or sugar; or specific food or chemical intolerances.

Omega-3 fats are called essential fats because they are not manufactured by the human body, and thus must be introduced through your diet. Omega-3 helps to build the brain’s neuronal connections as well receptor sites for neurotransmitters. Meaning, the more omega-3s in the blood, the more serotonin the body will produce. Foods high in omega-3 include: flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, clams, crabs, mackerel, eggs, yogurt and walnuts.

Low levels of B vitamins can result in high levels of homocysteine levels which can cause feelings of depression. Folic acid, B2, B6, B12, zinc, magnesium and TMG (trimethyglycine), all help to normalize homocysteine levels.  B12 deficiency can also result in more serious conditions like anemia. Foods high in B vitamins, magnesium and zinc include: mackerel, shellfish, crab, salmon, trout, poultry, low-fat dairy, kefir, feta, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, cereals, whole grains, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, green peas, brussels sprouts, avocado, dark leafy greens, spinach, banana, broccoli, asparagus, beans and legumes.

Vitamin D or sunshine deficiency often occurs with people living in colder climates during the winter months. The elderly, disabled and over-weight people are usually at higher risk as they are more likely to shy away from the sun. Twenty minutes of prime sunshine with arms and legs exposed every day is necessary for the average person to reach minimum vitamin D levels.

Sugar has long been linked to depression. Eating lots of sugar increases the amount of glucose in your blood which causes the body to feel fatigued and irritable. A person can experience insomnia, excessive sweating (especially at night), poor concentration, forgetfulness, excessive thirst, blurred vision, digestive disturbances, anxiety, crying fits and depression. Maintaining a sugar-free diet is highly beneficial.

Gluten has been associated with increased cases of depression, especially with people with severe intolerances. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and is associated with Coeliac Disease. A gluten-free diet for a few weeks can help determine whether gluten is giving you a hard time.

Artificial ingredients, highly processed foods and fried foods heavily saturated in fats have all been linked to depression. These types of foods are difficult for the body to break down and digest and can introduce harmful substances and chemicals into the body. Choosing natural whole and organic foods when grocery shopping will help guarantee a healthy and nutritious diet. A healthy body will feed a healthy mind.

Poor posture and respiratory disorders have also been linked to depression as they can restrict the amount of oxygen you breathe and feed into your body. A lack of oxygen or poor circulation can causes stress and a feeling of grief which can be expressed as depression. Getting fresh air and practicing light daily exercises will help the blood to circulate oxygen throughout your body, improving cognitive function and emotional outlook.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    Precision Nutrition / Mood Food: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/how-to-fight-depression-naturally-with-nutrition
•    Prevention / 13 Foods That Fight Stress: http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/13-healthy-foods-that-reduce-stress-and-depression
•    NCBI: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health / Effects of oxygen concentration and flow rate on cognitive ability and physiological responses in the elderly: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107523/
•    NCBI: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health / Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illness: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/
•    Food for the brain: Championing optimum nutrition for the mind / depression: http://www.foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-solutions/depression/about-depression.aspx
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / How to Fight Depression and Anxiety with Nutrition: https://draxe.com/how-to-fight-depression-and-anxiety-with-nutrition/
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / Mood-Boosting Foods: 7 Foods to Greater Happiness: https://draxe.com/mood-boosting-foods/
•    PsychCentral / Why Your Diet Can Make or Break Depression Recovery: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/01/08/why-your-diet-can-make-or-break-depression-recovery/
•    Mercola: Take Control of Your Health / Scientific Links Between Processed Foods and Depression Keep Getting Stronger: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/07/16/link-between-processed-food-depression.aspx
•    Brain & Behaviour / Depression Symptoms Declined with Mediterranean-style Diet: https://bbrfoundation.org/brain-matters-discoveries/depression-symptoms-declined-with-mediterranean-style-diet
•    SBS / A Healthy Diet Can Treat Major Depression: New Study Findings: http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/health/article/2017/02/02/healthy-diet-can-treat-major-depression-new-study-findings  

Healing Foods to Combat Stress

According to a 2010 General Social Survey as reported through Statistics Canada, 27% of working Canadians described their lives as highly stressful; that is an estimated 3.7 million people and this was not considering the unemployed population. Stress is the number one cause of all illness and at least three out of ten Canadians are feeling high levels of stress in their daily lives.

When experiencing stress it is far too easy to skip meals and to choose to eat foods that are not good for us. The foods we eat and how regularly we eat them can greatly influence our moods and stress levels. Following a well-balanced meal plan that includes three meals a day with snacks in-between can reduce stress levels significantly. A well-balanced meal plan should follow food guide recommendations that include the four major food groups and choosing whole foods over highly processed, sugary and fried foods.

There are a few specific foods that have been identified as especially beneficial in relieving the symptoms of stress, just as there are a few to avoid. Beneficial foods include: chamomile tea, fermented foods, blueberries, dark chocolate and chlorella and foods high in vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, omega-3, folate-rich foods and tryptophan-rich foods. Foods recommended to avoid when experiencing stress include: caffeine, alcohol, sugar, gluten, highly processed foods, artificial ingredients, colourings and flavourings, and fried foods.

Chamomile tea has long been used by traditional healers to treat stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Chamomile promotes relaxation which reduces stress and anxiety, as well can be mildly sedative and can give a feeling of drowsiness when enjoyed at bedtime. With decreased levels of stress, anxiety and insomnia which are linked to causes of depression, depression itself is also in turn reduced.

Fermented foods work to improve stress by improving the health of the gut, which can impact mental health. Toxicity in the gut can flow throughout the body and into the brain, effecting brain chemistry which can impact a person’s mood and behaviour. Probiotics, plain yogurt and other fermented foods like pickles will add nourishment to the gut flora and support a positive mood.

Blueberries can also prove beneficial in fighting stress as they contain an antioxidant known as anthocyanin which aides the brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical critical to regulating mood.

Dark chocolate is not just an enjoyable treat for most, but produces a feel-good chemical that can also block feelings of pain and depression called anandamide

Chlorella can also aid in the fight against stress and symptoms of depression according to recent research. Chlorella is a micro-algae that is high in protein which stimulate hormone and brain neurotransmitters; as well contains all of the essential amino acids. Chlorella also helps to detox the body of heavy metals which can build up in a person’s system and produce symptoms of neuron degeneration, fatigue, depression, irritability, stress and anxiety.

A healthy daily dose of sunshine has long been known to elevate the mood and stabilize emotions. Twenty minutes a day with arms and legs exposed is recommended by most professionals for the average person. Taking a vitamin D supplement can be taken on days with little sun exposure. Foods high in vitamin D include: cold water fish, salmon, eggs and mushrooms.

Vitamin C has been found to lessen cortisol production that is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Cortisol is the hormone that triggers the “fight or flight” response to stress. Frequent exposure to high levels of this hormone can exhaust the body, impair memory and make a person more susceptible to depression. Foods high in vitamin c include: bell peppers, berries, guavas, green leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, berries, pineapple, cantaloupe, oranges, cooked tomatoes, peas, papaya, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral found in the body and is needed to produce energy, to adjust cholesterol levels, to relax muscles and to regulate over 300 biochemical reactions. When a person experiences chronic stress, magnesium is released and excreted through the urine, depleting the body of this important mineral. Magnesium deficiency can make a person more reactive to stressful situations and increase epinephrine / adrenalin levels, which adds further stress to the body leading to mental and physical fatigue. Magnesium is commonly used for poor sleep, stress, anxiety, menstrual cramps, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, asthma attacks and abnormal heartbeats. Foods high in magnesium include: spinach, swiss chard, potatoes with skin, quinoa, plain yogurt, all types of beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, flax-seed and salmon.

Omega-3 may help reduce stress according to beneficial results in a few small recent studies. Chronic stress increases the amount of cytokines produced in the body, compounds known to promote full-body inflammation, including neuro-inflammation. Omega-3 is known to decrease the production of cytokines, helping to reduce this inflammation; which in-turn helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Foods high in omega-3 include: mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, trout, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, eggs and plain yogurt.

Folate-rich foods help your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. These pleasure-inducing brain chemicals help to promote a calm mental state. Foods high in folate include: spinach, salad greens, artichoke, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, lettuce, beets, potatoes with skin, avocados, papaya, lentils, peas, beans sunflower seeds, whole-grain cereals and breads.

Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan help reduce stress and improve sleep. Tryptophan is responsible for many neurological functions in the body and acts as a precursor to many neurotransmitters and neuro-chemicals including serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is known to aide with insomnia and promote sleep where serotonin helps to improve mood and mental health. Tryptophan has also been found to help with depression, irritability and anxiety. Foods high in tryptophan include: seaweed / spirulina, spinach, chicken, turkey, salmon, sardines, scallops, eggs, pumpkin seeds, oats, beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, almonds and walnuts.

When experiencing stress, food is not always a negative way to find comfort. It all depends on what you reach for whether the foods you eat will lead to more stress or instead stabilize your blood sugar and emotions and bring about a feeling of calm and relief. Life can be very stressful, but try not to fret, some tasty healing foods may be just what you need.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    Prevention.com / 13 Foods That Fight Stress: http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/13-healthy-foods-that-reduce-stress-and-depression
•    Mercola: Take Control Of Your Health / 10 Superfoods for Stress Relief: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/27/10-stress-relieving-superfoods.aspx
•    Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine / How to Eat to Reduce Stress: http://www.pcrm.org/health/health-topics/how-to-eat-right-to-reduce-stress
•    Body and Soul / De-stress Diet: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/diet/diets/destress-diet/news-story/835b91b47c379ef584b3c2858d2ab4b3
•    PsychCentral / Stress And Diet: You Aren’t What You Eat: https://psychcentral.com/lib/stress-and-diet-you-arent-what-you-eat/
•    Women’s Health / The 11 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Stressed Out: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/stress-fighting-foods
•    Good Food / Stress & Diet – Can food help?: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/stress-diet-can-foods-help
•    Health Matters / The Low Stress Diet PDF: https://healthmatters.idaho.gov/pdf/stress/low_stress_diet_notes.pdf
•    Food & Nutrition / Perfect Health Harmony: Sleep, Stress, Diet: http://www.foodandnutrition.org/Stone-Soup/May-2013/Perfect-Health-Harmony-Sleep-Stress-and-Diet/
•    Gentle Stress Relief / Health Benefits of Chamomile: http://www.gentle-stress-relief.com/health-benefits-of-chamomile.html
•    Heal Naturally: Science-based Natural Health / Chamomile Treats Clinical Depression and Anxiety: https://www.realnatural.org/chamomile-relaxes-fights-anxiety-and-depression/
•    NCBI / Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904694/
•    The Med Circle / Calm Anxiety and Stress Understand Fermented Foods: https://themedcircle.com/calm-anxiety-stress-understand-fermented-foods/
•    Natural News / Consuming Chlorella Helps reduce oxidative stress, prevent cognitive decline: http://www.naturalnews.com/042621_chlorella_oxidative_stress_cognitive_decline.html
•    PaleoLeap / Important Nutrients for Stress Management: https://paleoleap.com/important-nutrients-stress-management/
•    Nutritionist Resource UK / Stress: http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/stress.html

Healing Foods for a Healthy Immune System

The Immune system is the body’s defence against infectious organisms that invade the body and cause disease. The immune system is made up of special cells, tissues and organs that all work together to protect the body. It recognizes unfamiliar invaders and will work to destroy them, killing bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Good nutrition is important for building a strong immune system to protect the body against infection and disease. The body requires a well-balanced whole food diet to gain the daily essential nutrients it needs in order to function properly, to be strong, and to be full of energy. To find out what your daily intake recommendations are for all of the essential nutrients, see our article Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods.

Just as important as good nutrition is for a healthy functioning immune system is the practices of drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, staying active and practicing any form of stress management. There is no one solution or way to achieve good health. Good health comes with living a healthy lifestyle and that involves everything.

Healthy whole foods include fresh fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, plain unsweetened yogurt, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. Whole foods can help support and promote a healthy immune system because these foods are full of compounds called essential nutrients. Essential nutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins and fats; which are all important in building and sustaining a healthy immune system and a strong and functioning body.

Healthy protein intake is especially important in helping your body to build and maintain strength. Healing body building nutrients found in foods high in protein include vitamins B6 and B12, selenium and zinc. Healthy protein sources include: chicken, turkey and other fowl, rabbit, salmon, trout, mackerel, cod, haddock, pollock, whitefish, anchovies, sardines, scallops; rabbit, legumes like beans and lentils, green peas, quinoa, dairy, eggs, yogurt, chia and all types of nuts and seeds.

Antioxidants help protect cells and DNA against damage caused by oxidants or free radicals. Free radicals are introduced by the environment as well are naturally produced in the body; but when there are too many they can cause serious damage to the body and contribute to aging and the development of certain diseases. Whole foods that are high in antioxidants include; wild blueberries, cranberries, gogi berries, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, sweet cherry, black plum, red and black grapes, artichokes, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cilantro and dark leafy greens.

Many herbs and spices are known for having strong antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial fighting properties and are powerful natural healers in combating many viral diseases and infections. Herbs and spices that provide powerful antioxidant protection include: garlic, ginger, basil, cumin, cinnamon, parsley, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, cloves and thyme. Herbs and spices with powerful antiviral, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties include: cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, cayenne, celery seed, oregano, peppermint and thyme.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help to keep your gut healthy. Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and yogurt. When fighting viruses, it is best to avoid dairy products since they increase mucus production and can make nausea and vomiting symptoms worse.

Flavonoids are recognized by the scientific and natural health communities as especially beneficial in boosting immune system function and speeding recovery. Flavonoids are found in the soft white skin of citrus fruits such as: oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes; and in garlic, leeks, onions, blueberries, grapes and acai berries.

Another beneficial nutrient is called glutathione, which works as a powerful antioxidant in support of the immune system. Glutathione also promotes the creation of white blood cells, which are an important component to a healthy immune system. It is found in the red pulpy area of the watermelon near the rind and in cruciferous vegetables like kale, bok choy, turnip, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, rutabaga, watercress, radish, arugula, cabbage, mixed salad greens and collard greens.

Soups and purees help the body to absorb essential nutrients from healthy whole foods better. People with weakened immune systems can benefit from nutrient-rich foods. Weakened immune systems can also make people more prone to becoming ill from viruses and infections. When fighting viruses like the cold or flu, warm teas and soups are not just an old folk remedy. Drinking mildly warm liquids can in fact offer an immediate and sustained relief from symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills and tiredness; by offering a soothing anti-inflammatory effect and reducing symptoms of the upper respiratory tract.

Strong scientific evidence now suggests that sugar significantly decreases immune system function. High levels of sugar in the bloodstream has been found to reduce white blood cell production and deplete the body of essential vitamins and nutrients.

It is equally important to avoid highly processed, fried and artificial foods as they offer little nutritional value and can introduce damaging substances into the body. Keeping the immune system strong and healthy is anyone’s best fight for a long healthy life free from viruses, infections and from the development of serious chronic diseases. Eating fresh whole foods will provide the body with the nourishment it needs to maintain a healthy immune system and to live a long life. Eat good and live well.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / What Foods are Good for My Immune System: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=24&tname=faq
•    Dr. Axe: Food is medicine / Use Antiviral Herbs to Boost Immune System & Fight Infection: https://draxe.com/antiviral-herbs/
•    Cleveland Clinic / health essentials / Eat these foods to boost your immune system: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/01/eat-these-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/
•    Authority Nutrition: An evidence-based Approach / 10 Foods That Can Boost Your Immune System: https://authoritynutrition.com/foods-that-boost-immune-system/
•    NCBI / Effect of dietary protein and amino acids on immune function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2105184
•    NCBI / Probiotics in Respiratory Virus Infections: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24638909
•    Nature.com / Immunology and Cell Biology / Effects of dietary protein types on immune responses and levels of infection with Eimeria vermiformis in mice: http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v79/n1/full/icb20014a.html
•    Mercola: Take Control of Your Health / Top 12 Foods for Healthy Immune Response: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/08/top-12-foods-for-healthy-immune-response.aspx
•    Mercola: Take Control of Your Health / Good Bacteria Fight the Flu: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/15/good-bacteria-fight-the-flu.aspx
•    Dr. Sircus / Using Glutathione and Selenium to Treat Viral Infections: http://drsircus.com/general/glutathione-selenium-viral-infections/
•    GlutathionePro / Top Natural Antibiotics: http://glutathionepro.com/top-natural-antibiotics/
•    ImmuneHealthSciences / Natural Immune System Boosters: http://www.immunehealthscience.com/natural-immune-system-boosters.html
•    Alkalize for Health: http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/freshjuices.htm
•    Disabled World / Flavonoids information Including Foods that Contain Them: https://www.disabled-world.com/medical/supplements/antioxidants/flavonoids.php
•    Progressive Health / Your Digestive System can Protect You From Colds and Flu: http://www.progressivehealth.com/probiotics-and-colds-and-flu.htm
•    Nurse Jon’s Glutathione Disease Cure / Immune system Glutathione: http://www.glutathionediseasecure.com/immune-system-glutathione.html

Healing Foods for Chronic Kidney Disease

Maintaining a well-balanced diet of fresh whole foods is important for everybody, but when suffering with chronic conditions like kidney disease, it can become necessary.

Kidney disease develops when the kidneys have been attacked, which often effects the filtering units of the kidneys. Attacks on the kidneys can result in damage which can reduce their ability to eliminate waste and excess fluids. With chronic kidney disease the kidneys are damaged and there is a decreased level of function for periods of time which can range from months to years. Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the development and severity of the disease.

Kidney disease is thought to occur when another disease or condition has impaired its functions and damaged the kidneys. Disease and conditions that are thought to cause chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, kidney infection or a kidney obstruction.

With chronic kidney disease, diets are designed to keep electrolytes, fluids and minerals balanced. The goal of the diet is to keep waste and fluid from building up in the blood so the kidneys do not have to work so hard removing the extra waste themselves. This diet may also help prevent and maintain other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. Consequently easing other health problems also helps to ease kidney disease.

Eating the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium will be less taxing on your kidneys, easing conditions of the disease. Reducing sodium intake can also help reduce fluid buildup, swelling and higher blood pressure.

Protein is needed to build muscle, repair tissue and fight infection; yet too much protein can cause waste to build up in your blood. Eating the right amount of protein for your body weight and condition, as well choosing a healthy source of protein is essential. Healthy protein sources include: lean white meats like chicken, turkey or rabbit, wild atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, clams, crab, scallops, eggs, tofu, yogurt, raw spinach, green peas, legumes like beans and lentils, oats, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates are a good source of energy as long as they are being acquired from healthy sources. Bad carbs include sugary and highly refined processed foods like: sugary drinks, fruit juices, white breads and pastas, pastries, cakes, ice cream, candy, french fries and potato chips. With low-protein diets, healthy carbohydrates can be used to replace calories. Healthy carbohydrate sources include: all whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, potatoes, nuts and seeds, whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats or rolled oats, and bran.

Phosphorus can build up in the blood as kidney function lowers, which pulls calcium from the bones causing them to become weaker; thus limiting phosphorus is needed. Foods that are good sources in calcium are often also high in phosphorus, thus limiting these foods is also required. If these foods are being reduced in your diet, taking a coral calcium supplement and vitamin d make be recommended.

The right amount of potassium helps muscle and heart function, but too much or too little can cause the body great stress, thus regulating potassium in your diet is important. Good sources of potassium include: legumes, dark leafy greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, white potatoes with skin, acorn squash, plain yogurt, tomatoes, avocados, papaya, mango, cantaloupe, bananas, prunes, dried apricots, artichoke, bok choy, beets and brussels sprouts.

With advanced kidney disease, iron levels can be depleted risking anemia, thus taking iron supplements or adding foods to your diet high in Iron may be recommended. Iron levels can be checked through a blood test requested by a doctor. Foods high in iron include: squash and pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, apricots, oysters, mussels, clams, nuts, beans and lentils, whole grains, bran, oatmeal, green peas, potatoes with skin, swiss chard, parsley, spinach, kale and dark leafy greens.

Developing strict diet plans is highly recommended by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Adhering strictly to a well-balanced diet can treat hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease by slowing the progression of the diseases. Meal plans for kidney disease often strictly calculate an individuals calorie, protein, mineral and fibre intake. A nutritionist or natural-path can help develop such a meal plan best suited for your needs.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    The Kidney Foundation of Canada / What is Kidney Disease?: https://www.kidney.ca/kidney-disease
•    Mayo Clinic / Chronic Kidney Disease: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20207466
•    wikipedia / Chronic Kidney Disease: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_kidney_disease
•    National Kidney Foundation: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease
•    National Kidney Foundation / About Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease
•    Ontario Renal Network / Kidney Disease: http://www.renalnetwork.on.ca/info_for_patients/kidney_disease/#.WO-TLI5Jm9Y
•    American Kidney Fund / Kidney-Friendly diet for CKD: http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/kidney-friendly-diet-for-ckd.html
•    MedlinePlus: Trusted Health Information for You / Diet – chronic kidney disease: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002442.htm
•    Mayo Clinic / Low-Phosphorus Diet: Best for Kidney Disease?: http://www.mayoclinic.org/food-and-nutrition/expert-answers/faq-20058408
•    Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics / Kidney Disease and Diet: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/kidney-disease/kidney-disease-and-diet
•    Kidney.Org / Iron and Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/docs/11-10-0284_patbro_irondeficiency.pdf

Healing Foods for IBD: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are types of inflammatory bowel diseases. Symptoms include gastrointestinal (GI) bloating, abdominal pain and cramping, constipation and diarrhea. The intestines become inflamed with IBD which also make it difficult to digest food and absorb nutrients. The lack of sufficient nutrients can lead to malnutrition, anemia and weight loss.

A well-balanced diet made up of the four basic food groups is important for acquiring the essential nutrients necessary in maintaining good health. Choosing fresh whole foods over deep-fried, fast foods and processed foods is critical with IBD. Avoiding foods like alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, sugars, dairy (except plain yogurt), red meat, gluten, whole-grains, wheat flours, high-fibre, corn or corn-products, spicy foods, fried foods, processed foods and fast foods is important as they all can irritate the bowels and exacerbate conditions.

Low-fibre foods, steamed foods and pureed foods can help ease the digestion process and allow more nutrients in the foods to be absorbed. High-fiber foods are best to avoid, especially during flare-ups include: whole-grains, brown rice, dried fruits, raw fruits and vegetables, red meats, seeds and nuts. Low-fiber foods include: white grain-free breads, white rice, refined flours, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, steamed and cooked vegetables and white tender meats.

Gluten-reduced and gluten-free foods may also be beneficial for people suffering with IBD as gluten can be difficult to process with compromised bowel function. High gluten foods to avoid include foods and drinks that contain: wheat, rye, barley and processed foods with refined white flours.

High-calorie and high-protein diets may be necessary for people with IBD since a compromised digestive system absorbs less calories and protein along with the other essential nutrients in food.

Healthy high-calorie food sources for a compromised digestive system include: smooth nut and seed butters, yogurt, bananas, yogurt fruit smoothies, guacamole, avocados, potatoes, rice, chia seeds and quinoa.

Healthy high-protein food sources for people with IBD include: lean white meats like poultry, rabbit and cold water fish; as well eggs, tofu, yogurt, steamed spinach, cooked green peas, quinoa, legumes, avocados, oats and smooth nut and seed butters.

Protein powders and greens superfood powders are excellent for helping to introduce more calories, protein and vital nutrients into a person’s diet. People suffering with chronic and serious IBD could be deficient in some essential nutrients. A blood or hair analysis can help determine if any deficiencies exist that can be countered with supplements and beneficial foods. A dietician can help organize a balanced meal-plan that can include specific foods to offset any deficiencies.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate the immune system and reduce intestinal inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 foods for digestive disorders include: eggs, yogurt and chia seeds; as well cold water fish such as: wild salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, clams and crab.

Ginger has  long been used to ease poor digestion with its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Fresh ginger root can be peeled, sliced, steeped in hot water and enjoyed as tea for immediate relief from GI symptoms and abdominal pain.

Probiotic supplements and plain unsweetened yogurt have also proved to be beneficial in reducing inflammation. Yogurt has “good” bacteria called probiotics, that have shown to significantly help protect against IBD inflammatory conditions.

Easing digestion can make it easier for your body to absorb key nutrients from your food and reduce the chances of flare-ups. Chewing foods thoroughly, pureed foods and liquid diets can help give your intestines a rest. Getting in the habit of lightly steaming vegetables will help to preserve the nutrients in food, as well break down these foods for easier digestion. Digestive aids can also be taken before eating large meals to assist in the process. Pineapple and papaya are natural digestive aids that can be beneficial when cooked with some foods.

Studies have shown that broccoli and plantains help stop the growth of Crohn’s disease and colitis. The fibres of broccoli and plantains behave as blockers, hindering the e-coli virus that can infect the intestinal tract in several stages of these disorders.

Carrots, squash, cantaloupe, bell peppers and dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A carotenes, which have shown to decrease the chances of bladder and colon cancers by 50%. Adding these foods to the menu can be very beneficial for people suffering with IBD as they are at higher risk of these conditions.

When preparing meals, eating less more often is often recommended, as large meals can lead to bloating, cramping and cause to flare-ups.

Drinking a minimum of 8 to 10 large glasses of purified water daily can assist in cleansing the system and help with digestion. Water should be avoided while eating though as it can interrupt the digestion process and not allow foods to be broken down and absorbed as efficiently. It is recommended to wait at least 10 minutes after eating before drinking any great amounts of water.

Taking a walk 15 minutes after eating also aids in digestion. Studies have shown that the digestive process is sped up as well blood sugar levels decreased when a 15 minute walk is taken shortly after eating. It is suggested that walking stimulates the midsection, thus stimulating the digestive system.

Food sensitivity is not uncommon; keeping a food / IBD symptom diary can help identify any specific food intolerance. Record what foods are eaten on a daily basis, along with any supplements taken. Also include a personal health report and any symptoms experienced on that day. After several months, patterns may reveal themselves to help identify specific food sensitivities.

Written by: J.Marshall

Try our Broccoli Pesto Pasta recipe! Broccoli is an excellent healing food source for IBD.

 

References
•    Guts4life: The home of OBD information & support / Living Healthily Diet: http://www.guts4life.com/living-with-ibd/lifestyle-matters/living-healthily
•    BioMed Central / Nutrition Journal / An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report: http://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-5
•    Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America / The Relationship Between Food & IBD: http://www.ibdetermined.org/ibd-information/ibd-diet.aspx
•    Chron’s & Colitis Foundation of America / Diet, Nutrition and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/assets/pdfs/diet-nutrition-2013.pdf
•    Mercola: Take Control of Your Health / How to Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease like Crohn’s Disease: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/10/inflammatory-bowel-disease-symptoms.aspx
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / Crohn’s Disease Diet & Natural Treatment Plan: https://draxe.com/crohns-disease-diet/

Additional Resources

Check out this guide from reviews.com to find great probiotic supplements for general gut health, antibiotic recovery, immune health and more!

https://www.reviews.com/probiotic-supplement/

Healing Foods for Chronic Pain

Fibromyalgia and arthritis are common forms of chronic pain that are often considered life-long conditions. Symptoms include inflammation, headaches, aching bones and joints, muscle and tissue pain, nerve pain, fatigue, depression and sleeping disorders. Chronic pain usually originates from some form of trauma, physical injury or infection. When pain becomes chronic and is experienced for many years it can lead to serious diseases and conditions like cancer and heart disease, thus reducing chronic pain is essential.

Physical therapy along with other complementary therapies such as meditation, breathing exercises, stretching, yoga and tai-chi are excellent forms of pain management without the damaging effects of prescription drugs. Certain foods have also shown to be especially beneficial in managing pain, just as some other foods have been identified as triggers to pain.

Maintaining a well-balanced diet of whole fresh foods and avoiding deep-fried, fast and processed foods will have a significant impact on your health. Your body needs the essential nutrients, fatty acids and healthy fibre and protein sources to combat disease and stay healthy. Some foods that are especially beneficial in pain management include: foods rich in omega-3, quercitin, carotenoids and magnesium.

Omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate the immune and inflammatory responses in the body. Adding fish to the menu at least twice a week will offer a minimum recommendation of omega-3 to the diet. Good sources for omega-3 include: eggs, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seed; as well cold water fish such as: mackerel, wild salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, clams and crab.

Quercitin is an antioxidant flavonoid known for fighting enzymes that cause inflammation and pain. Quercitin has shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, ward off blood clots, inhibit stomach cancer, and fight asthma, bronchitis and infections. Foods rich in quercitin include: yellow and red onions, shallots, celery, tomatoes, spinach, buckwheat flour, cocoa powder blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, jalapeño, green beans, dried apricots, apples, cherries, cranberries, lemons and red and black grapes.

Carotenoids are antioxidants found in certain foods that have been found to minimize inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Foods high in carotenoids include: sweet potatoes, papayas, carrots, mangoes, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, sweet peas, broccoli, butternut squash, cantaloupe, dried apricots, cilantro, plums and red peppers.

Taking a daily dose of magnesium will help relax smooth muscles and blood vessels, promotes healthy bowel function, regulates blood pressure levels and reduces symptoms of chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia. Foods high in magnesium include: seaweed, salmon (chinook), spinach, banana, figs, avocado, black beans, basil, coriander, potatoes, quinoa, flaxseed, cashews, almonds, almond butter, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, yogurt and whey.

Garlic is rich in sulphur compounds that stimulate an anti-inflammatory effect, alleviating chronic pain, as well boosts the immune system. Garlic in its raw form will have the greatest effect in reducing pain when added to the menu.

Turmeric root is another powerful spice that has strong anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effects. Studies have found that consuming just a small amount of turmeric daily can have benefiting effects. Turmeric spice is commonly used in Indian cuisine, it is what gives curry powder its bright yellow colour. Turmeric can be found in whole root form or in powder form in your local food market; as well can be found in capsules for therapeutic use.

Anthocyanins are antioxidants found in bright and dark coloured foods. Anthocyanins are beneficial for chronic pain as they help battle free radicals that can trigger inflammation. Blueberries are known for their high amounts of antioxidants and long list of health benefits. Anthocyanins can be found in: blackcurrants, asparagus, plums, bananas, red and dark grapes, pomegranates, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries and red onions.

Getting enough protein is also especially important in managing pain. Your body needs protein for the maintenance and production of healthy cells and tissues, muscle and cartilage; as well for the healthy production of hormones, antibodies and enzymes that all help keep your body going. Healthy protein choices include: cold water fish like wild Atlantic mackerel, cod, haddock, anchovies, pollock, whitefish, trout and salmon; lean white meat such as chicken or rabbit; eggs, yogurt, beans, chick peas, green peas, quinoa, almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic pain through a study done by Greg Plotnikoff, MD at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2003. Plotnikoff found that by increasing vitamin D levels in patients, relieved chronic pain. It is recommended spending an average of 20 minutes a day in sunshine with arms and legs exposed.

On the other side, there are certain foods that can trigger inflammation and heighten neurotransmitters sensitivity to pain. Avoiding or strictly reducing these foods can also assist in the battle against chronic pain. These foods include sugars, refined grains, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, processed foods, artificial ingredients and fried foods.

Dairy and nightshade fruits and vegetables have also shown to trigger pain in some people more than others. To know whether dairy or nightshades are also triggering pain it is advised to remove them from the menu for 3-4 weeks to test if a difference is noticed. Common nightshade fruits and vegetables include: tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, gooseberries, gogi berries, white and yellow-flesh potatoes, paprika and eggplant.

Written by: J.Marshall

Try our Broccoli and Feta Soufflé recipe! Eggs and broccoli are excellent healing food sources for Chronic Pain.

Visit our:

  • Article Archive – View our reference articles on maintaining a well-balanced diet, the nutritional value of essential nutrients, nutrient-rich foods and the beneficial foods that can help in the healing of chronic disease and illness.
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References
•    Mercola: Take care of your health / Foods That Chronic Pain Sufferers Need to Avoid: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/19/foods-that-chronic-pain-sufferers-need-to-avoid.aspx
•    Mercola: Take care of your health / The Worst Possible Thing to Ignore if You Have Arthritis: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/29/omega-3-radically-improve-arthritis.aspx
•    PPM: Practical Pain Management / A Diet for Patients With Chronic Pain: https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/complementary/diet-patients-chronic-pain
•    PPM: Practical Pain Management / Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Neuropathis Pain: https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/nutraceutical/omega-3-fatty-acids-neuropathic-pain
•    Arthritis Foundation: Living with Arthritis / The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Arthritis: http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/omega-3-fatty-acids-arthritis/
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / 7 Proven Benefits of Quercetin / https://draxe.com/quercetin/
•    Quercetin.com / Food Chart: http://www.quercetin.com/overview/food-chart
•    Prohealth / Quercetin: An Impressive Antioxidant for Lyme disease and Interstitial Cystitis: http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=29444
•    NCBI: US National Library of Medicine / Antioxidant, Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Carotenoids from Dried Pepper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3468166/
•    Progressive Health / Magnesium for Joint Pain: http://www.progressivehealth.com/magnesium-joint-pain.htm
•    Dr. Sircus / Inflammatory and Pain Management with Magnesium: http://drsircus.com/cardiology/inflammation-and-systemic-stress/
•    EveryDay Health / What You Eat May Help Beat Back Pain: http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/can-good-diet-fight-back-pain/
•    PaleoLeap / Diet and Chronic Pain: The Paleo Perspective: https://paleoleap.com/diet-and-chronic-pain-paleo-perspective/

~Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well~

Healing Foods for Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can lead to serious life-altering conditions like full-body pain, fibromyalgia, severe migraines, heart disease and cancer. The remedy far too often are medications that only minimize the symptoms but never help heal the problem.

There are alternatives in medicine besides just pharmaceuticals though, alternatives of which involve reducing stress, becoming more active and maintaining a healthier diet.  Through adding a little meditation and/or exercise to the daily routine and by making changes to the diet, a person can promote the healing of most chronic inflammatory conditions.

Some foods have been found to trigger inflammation, just as other foods have been found to help reduce it. Diets containing plenty of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, fish, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts have shown to have anti-inflammatory effects for example, whereas processed foods high in sugar and saturated fat have been linked to causing inflammation.

Saturated and trans fats can be reduced by avoiding processed and fast foods. While cooking, saturated and trans fats can also be introduced into your foods by using many types of vegetable oils, by deep-frying foods and by over-heating oils while cooking. Through using cooking oils like: avocado oil, olive oil or coconut oil, these saturated and trans fats can be reduced in your cooking.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have shown to have especially high anti-inflammatory qualities. Foods high in omega-3 include: oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines), flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. Changing protein intake to wild fish, yogurt, beans, nuts, chia seeds and vegetable protein over red meat will also reduce inflammation. Almonds, walnuts, cashews and almond butter also contain healthy fats and protein.

Foods high in antioxidants are very beneficial in reducing inflammation. The highest ranked antioxidant foods include: wild blueberries, cranberries, gogi berries, cranberries, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, sweet cherry, black plum, red and black grapes, artichokes, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cilantro and dark leafy greens.

Choosing whole-grains over refined grains and non-starchy vegetables will also assist in reducing inflammation.  Non-starchy vegetables include: alfalfa sprouts, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, onions, leafy greens, turnips, watercress and zucchinis.

Ginger and turmeric roots and spices have been linked to reducing inflammation. Ginger can be used in cooking as well as steeped and enjoyed as a tea. Turmeric can be purchased in capsules and taken daily.

Eating a balanced diet plays an important role in combating chronic inflammation. Each meal should include moderate portions of all the basic food groups to achieve and maintain your ultimate health. Drinking 8-10 cups of purified water throughout the day will also help to moderate water-retention, which happens concurrently with inflammation.

Written by: J. Marshall

Visit our Article Archive page to learn more about nutrition, essential nutrients and how to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Visit our Foods that Heal category to learn more about other benefiting foods in the treatment and maintenance of other serious chronic diseases and conditions.

Try our Spicy Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry recipe! Cashews, chicken and vegetables are all excellent healing foods sources for Inflammation.

 

References
•    Dr. Weil/ Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Pyramid / URL: https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/
•    Arthritis Foundation / Anti-Inflammatory Diet / URL: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php
•    Dr. Axe: Food IS Medicine / Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods / URL: https://draxe.com/anti-inflammatory-foods/
•    Web MD/ Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Road to Good Health? / URL: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health#1
•    Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School / Foods that Fight Inflammation / URL: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
•    Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-based Approach / Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101 – Fight Inflammation Naturally / URL: https://authoritynutrition.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-101/

Healing Foods for Diabetes

A person can make a big difference through eating the right foods to help prevent, control and reverse diabetes. Diabetes is on the rise, yet most cases can be prevented by healthy lifestyle changes. Through learning and making healthy food choices a person can lose weight, can regulate their blood sugar, improve their overall health, increase their energy levels and improve their general mood.

Eating a balanced diet along with proper portion sizes according to Canada’s Food Guide is one step towards good health. Strictly reducing sugar, salt, processed foods, refined grains, red meats and alcohol is another step.

Carbohydrates can have a big impact on a person’s blood sugar levels. Refined Carbohydrates like white breads, pastas, white potatoes and rice can cause blood sugar levels to spike; whereas high-fibre carbohydrates will keep blood sugar levels even. High-Fibre complex carbohydrate choices include: Whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice, wild rice, steel-cut oats or rolled oats, and bran.

The glycemic index (GI) identifies how quickly foods turn into sugar in a person’s system. Glycemic load identifies the GI and the amount of carbohydrates in a food item, giving an accurate idea of how much it will affect a person’s blood sugar. These indexes and tables are designed to help a person regulate the carbs they eat. A low-glycemic diet includes: non-starchy vegetables, beans and fruits; whole-grains; fish and chicken for meat protein choices; extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil for salad and cooking oils; and almonds, walnuts and pecans for nut choices.

Most vegetables contain fibre and are naturally low in fat, sugar and sodium, making most vegetables a healthy food choice. Some vegetables are called starchy vegetables as they are high in carbohydrates. High-starchy vegetables include: butternut squash, corn, parsnip, peas, pumpkin, white potatoes and yams. It is advised to choose non-starchy vegetables when watching carbohydrates in your diet. Non-starchy vegetables include: alfalfa sprouts, amaranth leaves, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bean sprouts, green beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, onions, leafy greens, leeks, mushrooms, peppers, radish, sprouts, swiss chard, tomato, turnips, watercress and zucchini.

Strictly reducing processed foods and sugars is not only important to prevent, control and reverse diabetes, but is important for overall good health and prevention of other diseases. Many processed foods are not only high in sugar but also salt, saturated and trans fats, refined flours, as well as many artificial ingredients that are damaging to a person’s health.

Reducing sugars from the diet is vital to maintain diabetes and this includes all sugars. Honey, agave, molasses, all syrups, cane crystals, caramel, fructose, sucrose, dextrose and corn sweeteners are all sugars that should be avoided. Artificial sweeteners are not always a good substitute as some have been linked to different cancers amongst other disorders.

Diabetes can be controlled, prevented and even reversed through healthy lifestyle practices and what better way by learning to enjoy to eat healthier foods.

Written by: J. Marshall

Visit our Article Archive page to learn more about nutrition, essential nutrients and how to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Visit our Foods that Heal category to learn more about other benefiting foods in the treatment and maintenance of other serious chronic diseases and conditions.

Try our Broccoli Cauliflower and Mushroom Lasagna recipe! Vegetables are excellent healing food sources for Diabetes. Use whole-grain pasta over regular white pasta for high-fibre carbohydrates.

References
•    Diabetes Canada / Diet & Nutrition: Beyond the Basics / URL: https://www.diabetes.ca/clinical-practice-education/professional-resources/diet-nutrition-beyond-the-basics
•    American Diabetes Association / Food & Fitness / What Can I Eat? / URL: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/
•    Help Guide (dot) Org / The Diabetes Diet / URL: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diet-weight-loss/diabetes-diet-and-food-tips.htm
•    Diabetic Living / The 25 Power Foods for Diabetes / URL: http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/food-to-eat/nutrition/top-25-power-foods-diabetes
•    Web MD / Diabetes Diet Directory / URL: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-diet-directory
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / What is the Glycemic Index? / URL: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=32
•    The University of Sydney / Search for the Glycemic Index / URL: http://www.glycemicindex.com/

Healing Foods for Hypertension and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. A persons blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps, along with the resistance of blood flow in your arteries.

A blood pressure reading is based on two measures, the systolic and the diastolic. The systolic number is the measure of force it takes your heart to contract and pump out blood. The diastolic number is the measure of how long your heart relaxes between beats.

A normal blood-pressure is 120 (systolic) / 80 (diastolic); whereas a high blood pressure reading has a systolic reading of 140 and higher. Chronic low blood pressure can be signs of other health problems and often give systolic readings of 100 and lower.

Low blood pressure can occur with pregnancy, decreased blood, specific medications, prolonged bed rest, heart complications, endocrine problems, severe infections, allergic reactions and nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, fainting, fast breathing, blurred vision, nausea, pale skin, fatigue and depression.

Chronic high blood pressure can narrow and block arteries, as well strain and weaken the body’s organs. According to Statistics Canada, in 2014, 18% of Canadians 12 years old and older were reported to have high blood pressure. Fortunately high blood pressure is easily detected, much is known about it, and there are ways to prevent and maintain it.

There are two types of high blood pressure, primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension develops gradually over many years. Whereas, secondary hypertension can appear suddenly, often caused by an underlying condition.

Underlying conditions to hypertension involve other health conditions such as: sleep apnea, kidney problems, adrenal gland tumours, thyroid problems and chronic stress.  Unhealthy lifestyles with lack of exercise, poor eating habits, too much salt, alcohol abuse, smoking and illegal drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, also contribute greatly to secondary hypertension. Pharmaceuticals such as certain birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, pain relievers and other prescription drugs in recent years have also shown to be another contributing factor.

Making healthy lifestyle changes like moderate daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, avoiding certain medications and drugs and incorporating a well-balanced low-sodium diet to the menu can help prevent, reduce and maintain high blood pressure.

Diets low in sodium are commonly advised, but reducing salt is not all your food can do for you. Research has shown that through following a healthy eating plan a person can prevent the development of high blood pressure as well reduce an already elevated blood pressure. Studies show that by eating fresh whole foods and avoiding fatty foods, sugary foods, highly processed foods and fried foods can greatly influence a persons health. Foods high in potassium, calcium and magnesium have also shown to help lower and maintain blood pressure.

Potassium helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt on your kidneys. Your kidneys help to control  blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher the blood pressure. Your kidneys do this by filtering your blood and removing any extra fluid, which it stores in your bladder as urine. This process requires a delicate balance of sodium and potassium; too much sodium will reduce this ability and put strain on your kidneys and increase blood pressure. It is best to get your potassium from natural food sources like: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, salad greens, spinach, peas, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloup, prunes, apricots, fat-free milk and yogurt.

Calcium aids in muscle contraction and plays a vital role in the constriction and relaxation of blood vessels; which may help to regulate blood pressure. Though studies did not reflect any strong results, there was a small notable reduction. Healthy calcium-rich foods include low-fat dairy products such as: milk and plain yogurt; as well leafy salad greens, spinach, broccoli, sardines, salmon, perch and rainbow trout.

Magnesium offers several benefits to a healthy functioning heart such as regulating blood sugar levels, relaxing blood vessels and in the actions of your heart muscle. Magnesium offers these benefits by helping to dilate blood vessels, prevent spasms in your heart muscle and blood vessel walls, dissolves blood clots, acts as an antioxidant, helps to prevent arrhythmia and counteracts the action of calcium which can increase spasms. Signs of deficiencies in magnesium can include: loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and weakness. Foods high in magnesium include: halibut, avocados, almonds, peas, spinach, pumpkin seeds, plain yogurt, black beans, figs and swiss chard.

Choosing whole foods over dietary supplements is recommended as not all supplements come from natural sources or can be absorbed by your body as easily as whole foods. Supplements made from real whole foods are definitely healthier than synthetic alternatives which have been found to be more harmful than beneficial in some cases. Choosing to eat a well-balanced meal plan with beneficial foods is your best bet to reducing and maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Written by: J. Marshall

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References
•    Hypertension Canada: https://www.hypertension.ca/en/hypertension/what-can-i-do/eat-a-healthy-diet
•    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services / Your guide to Lowering Blood Pressure: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/hbp_low.pdf
•    American Heart Association / Managing Blood Pressure with a Heart-Healthy Diet: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/Managing-Blood-Pressure-with-a-Heart-Healthy-Diet_UCM_301879_Article.jsp#.WMGlgY5JlAY
•    Every Day Health / High Blood Pressure DIet: http://www.everydayhealth.com/high-blood-pressure/guide/diet/
•    Blood Pressure UK / Healthy Blood Pressure Diet: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Yourlifestyle/Eatingwell
•    Medline Plus / High Blood Pressure and Diet: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007483.htm
•    Today’s Dietician / Eat to Lower Blood Pressure: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/011012p18.shtml
•    Statistics Canada / High Blood Pressure 2014: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2015001/article/14184-eng.htm
•    Web MD / Medicatins That Cause High Blood Pressure: http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/medications-cause#1